Updated: Sep 11
In Basel immersing your kids in German is easy, but finding services in English is a little trickier. Fear not, there are many great options to promote English to your little ones. Most of these options are for pre-school age children, but many these organizations also provide after-school support for school-aged children.
Basel Children's Trust provides "community, support, and information to expectant parents and families with young children, living in the Basel area: from 'bump' to 'babe' and 'beyond'." They are an incredible resource for families with young children and offer weekly playgroups, as well as readings, special events, and workshops. Playgroups and events (for parents and children) occur at a number of venues around the city and are easily booked through BCT's Eventbrite listing. These events are also a great way for parents to socialize. They are accessible for BCT members as well as non-members. For regular attendees, membership is very affordable and allows for acess to all their playgroups, as well as discounts to their events.
Zwingerstrasse 20, 4053 Basel
Open Door Basel was founded in 1984 and had been providing English-speaking literacy programs and playgroups in Basel for almost 40 years! Located at a lovely facility in the Gundeli area, they have twice-weekly playgroups for ages 2-4, that focus on art, music and movement. These playgroups are for kids only (so parents can have little break!) They also offer after-school programs, focusing on reading and writing for children up to age 12. Membership is required and then classes and playgroups are charged by session. Registration is generally done on a semester basis, but they also allow participation mid-semester.
Leimenstrasse 61,4051 Basel
New this year, Happy Hedgehog International Playgroup teaches young children how to lead a healthy lifestyle, love movement, protect the environment and be socially aware, all while learning English. They do this through, movement, song, reading and play, with various supportive materials. They have morning and afternoon sessions with flexible drop off hours as well as additional classes for young children such as aerobics and gymnastics. You can also enroll your child at any time during the year, provided there is availability.
Oetlingerstrasse 192, 4057 Basel
English Centre For Kids is geared more for German-speaking families looking to promote English to their kids. They offer English-speaking playgroups as well as classes for older children. Courses are organized by age and charged on a semester basis.
Leimgrubenweg 9, 4053 Basel
Kindermusik has lessons for children from newborn to age 7. Part of the Kindermusik (TM) brand, this site is part of 40 worldwide locations that have been researching early childhood development with music for over 30 years. Activities are catered to children's developmental ages, using instruments, voices and movement. As children get older they also explore music notation.
Magical Cafe, Max Kämpf Platz 2, 4058 Basel
Quartiertreffpunkt Wettstein, Burgweg 7, 4058 Basel
Zumbini is a music and dance program for children from 0 - 4 years old and their caregivers. These classes are filled with music and movement, which is said to stimulate neural connections in the brains of young children. Zumbini classes are interactive and fun and get you singing and moving with your kids. It's also a great way to meet other parents.
Tanzstudio Formbar, Leimgrubenweg 9, 4053 Basel
Move With Me offers creative dance classes for children (with or without parents). Classes are held in English and German, providing a playful environment for children to be exposed to both languages. Classes occur in four sessions per year for preschool-aged children (divided by age) as well as pre-ballet for 4-6 year olds.
Gartengasse 18, 4125 Riehen
Känelmattweg 5, 4106 Therwil
In addition to their collaboration with the BCT for 'Messy Mornings' playgroup, Ahead With English also has preschool (ages 2-5), 'Learn and Play in English' (ages 4-6) and after-school programs (ages 4-18) for English speakers and non-English speakers. Their classes are described as 'small, practical and fun'. They also have a book club and offer exam prep services for children sitting the Cambridge Exams. Much of their offerings are group lessons, but private lessons are also available online and in person.
Sperrstrasse 104a, 4057 Basel
Sunshine little learners offer English-speaking preschool on weekday mornings with a play based curriculum. Weekly themes are delivered through songs, crafts, play activities and worksheets, as recommended in the UK curriculum. In the afternoons they also offer tutoring for older children (ages 5-12 years for maths and English) with instruction based on the British education system.
Familycare Basel is a non-profit organization committed to balancing family and work. In addition to other services like nannies, babysitters, camps, and courses, they also offer daycare at several locations in the Basel area from 3 months to school age. The entire staff stands for high-quality pedagogical values and look after the children according to recognized educational principles. Services are provided in German and English.
Gellertstrasse 37, 4052 Basel
In addition to being a primary and secondary bilingual (German and English) school, BKA offers daycare for infants (3-18 months) and young children (19 months to 4 years). Emphasis is placed on a 'bilingual approach' and children are exposed to both languages equally and consistently throughout the day. Their curriculum includes guided group activities, structured play times and field trips and is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from the UK, The Reggio Emilia approach and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB-PYP).
Gartenstrasse 93, 4052, Basel, Switzerland
In addition to their primary school, ELA offers an 'Early Years' program is based on the UK's Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This is a play-based instruction that supports development in communication and language, physical development as well as personal, social and emotional development. They have programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers where they sing songs, read books, use puppets or play in their lovely on-site garden.
Hopefully this article provides some good options for your little ones to learn and play in English. If you have any organizations to add, please contact us here.